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Island Hop Your Way Around The Philippines

Travel / December 11, 2019

Pack your swimmers, The Philippines is calling.

There are over 2000 inhabited islands that make up The Philippines and whilst most people have heard of Boracay, there’s a lot more to discover. You could spend years holidaying in this one destination but if you’re looking for somewhere picturesque to start, add Cebu and Bohol Island to your list.

Cebu

Flights from Australia to The Philippines will take you to the country’s capital, Manilla. This city is the complete opposite of the aqua blue waters you see on postcards so use this as a stopover only. Flights within The Philippines are frequent and cheap. A short 1.5 hour flight will take you to Cebu city. Here you can discover local cuisine, visit incredible waterfalls and go swimming with wild Whale Sharks off the coast of Oslob.
For those with a sense of adventure, book a guided canyoneering experience and discover the natural beauty of Kawasan Falls. You’ll hike, swim and jump off cliffs and waterfalls ranging from 1 meter to 11 meters high. There are a number of different tour groups but Highland Adventures are safe, fun and excellent guides.
If your sense of adventure takes a more culinary twist you’ll want to visit one of the local food markets in Cebu and try some renowned street food. Anthony Bourdain once claimed Filipino lechon was “the best in the world” when he was in Cebu at the time. Walkthrough the markets and see whole roasted pigs on the spit. Order a bag of sliced roast pork bits and some chicharrón (fried pork rinds) for a snack and let the tender roast meat melt in your mouth just like on Christmas day.
Bai Hotel is Cebu is nice and modern with a great rooftop pool and one of the biggest breakfast buffet selections I’ve ever seen.

Sumilon Island

A 3.5 hour drive south from the centre of Cebu is Sumilon Island and the Bluewater Sumilon Resort. The drive is worth it the minute you hit the aqua blue water at sunset. Settle in for a few days here and enjoy the serenity, bush walks around the island, water activities and baby shark feeding in the mornings.

Bohol

The best way to get from Cebu to Bohol is to take a two-hour fast ferry. You can tour the island alone but for first-time visitors it’s worth arranging a tour guide. Grace and Cecil from Baron Travel are locals from Cebu and Bohol and can give you an insider’s perspective on the best places to visit. To hire a driver and tour guide for a two-day tour in Bohol will cost between $70 – $220 depending on the number of people in your group and the location of your accommodation. For a relaxed, beachside escape Bohol Beach Club is the perfect option guaranteed to present plenty of “Instagrammable” sunsets and cocktails by the pool with palm trees in the background’ shots.

Bohol Island is filled with stunning coastline, hidden waterfalls and has a fun adventure park. Go zip-lining ($10), root climbing ($12), river kayaking ($8) and more at Danao Adventure Park for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Australia. Be sure to check out the famed Chocolate Hills, a unique geological formation consisting of hundreds of cone-shaped hills. They are spread over 50 square kilometers and vary in size from 30 to 120 meters in height. People from all over the world come to see these unique formations. Nearby is a quad bike track where you can go on a fun and bumpy ride with views of the hills.

A must-visit attraction in Bohol is the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. A Tarsier is quite possibly one of the strangest animals you’ll encounter. It’s said to be the inspiration behind fictional characters including Yoda and the gremlins. They’ve got massive eyes, frog-like fingers and are ridiculously cute. They’re also endangered but here you can see them in their natural habitat.

If you’re looking for a great place for lunch or dinner the Bohol Bee Farm has incredible fresh organic food.

Getting There

Cebu Pacific fly direct from both Sydney and Melbourne to Manilla a few times a week. Being a budget airline don’t expect the mod-cons but their whole philosophy is for travelers to save on the flight so they can spend more at the destination. Pack your own snacks and entertainment. The flight is only 8 hours and you can often score flights for less than $200 one way. At the moment (December 2019) Cebu Pacific have a sale on with one way from Melbourne to Manila starting from $159 and one way from Sydney to Manila starting from $189. Cebu later people!

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